It will charge new customers or those upgrading after July 7th £2 a day when they use their phones in 47 European countries, starting in January. The decision marks a U-turn for EE, which is part of the BT Group, which had previously said it had no plans to reintroduce European roaming charges.
Since 2017, mobile networks in EU countries have not been allowed to charge customers extra to use their phones in other EU countries.
However, there are some “fair use” limits. For example, you cannot get a mobile phone contract from Romania and then use it all year round in Italy.
In January 2021, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone all stated they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges, despite Brexit giving them the option to do so.
EE said on Thursday that introducing the charges would “support investment into our UK based customer service and leading UK network”. However, it will not charge UK customers extra to use their phones in the Republic of Ireland.
Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments:
“In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK’s biggest mobile providers all said that they had no immediate plans to change their charging models for consumers roaming within the EU.
“It’s hugely disappointing for consumers to see that situation change so quickly.
“This move means that customers joining or upgrading with EE from July will have to pay £2 a day to use their data and minutes across Europe from 2022.
“EE says the move will support investment in its UK-based services, but this is ultimately a backwards step for consumers.
“If you’re an existing EE customer, these charges won’t affect you yet, but make sure you check the small print if you’re due an upgrade in the coming months.
“When it comes to travelling, don’t leave it till the last minute to check the roaming charges for your destination, and always use hotel and cafe Wi-Fi when on holiday where possible.”